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The Tourist - Movie Review by A.D.Harris

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Apologies for the tardiness of this review of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's latest movie, 'The Tourist;' his first dabbling into the world of Hollywood movie stars and big budgets. With that in mind, he was given some star quality to work with; one hundred Million Dollars, Johnny Depp & Angelina Jolie. To be more precise, the two biggest stars in the world teaming up for a big budget thriller in the picturesque city of Venice. And it is because of what brilliant parts Donnersmarck had on paper, that you can't help but feel that 'The Tourist' did not add up the sum of its parts. Therefore in some ways, it feels fitting for such a delay in my review as it almost feels like the director himself may have been stuck in a traffic jam for the entirety of filming; surely such an upcoming master of his craft would not be happy with what is the final cut of the movie. To back-pedal slightly, 'The Tourist' was not a disaster by any means, but it was nowhere near the quality it should be.
I'll start with the bad, (as they seem to overshadow the good in many of the reviews I have read), in the hope that you do not forget the strengths of the movie, which incredibly was nominated for three of the biggest 'Golden Globes' this year; best film, actor & actress.
First off, Angelina Jolie has never been more disappointing in her career; how she thought she could get away with two hours of pouting & strutting around in glamorous clothing with nothing else to offer amazes me; more baffling being that such an esteemed director let her do so. I don't mean to be harsh, but if there has ever been a more woeful performance by one of the supposed megastars of Hollywood in the last ten years I implore you to let me know. (adamdharris@spoilertv.com :P)
I'm a huge fan of Johnny Depp, and had thought of this as his most 'by the book' movie in a fair few years, a chance for the great man to show his skills outside of the Tim Burton worlds he often puts himself in. Therefore, I was a little disappointed that he didn't appear to be putting his best into the role of Frank, the titular tourist who falls into the trap Jolie's Elise puts him in. In a way it felt like Depp was trying to restrain himself so much from his usual fare that he forgot to inject that bit of magic he has put into everything he has done before; for the first time I found myself saying that this was a performance that needn't have been Johnny at all and was also a disappointment. That's not to say that Frank is a poor creation, it just felt that he was grossly underestimated and misunderstood by both star and director.
The chemistry between Frank and Elise has been widely criticised by the critical world, and personally I felt it only failed because Elise was so unlike-able it was almost impossible to find any reason Frank could show an interest in her to begin with, rather than a lack of chemistry as such.
The first half is where 'The Tourist' most painfully shoots itself in the foot; so uninteresting are the scenes that build up the tension and explain the story that when we get into the second act you just don't care enough about any of the characters to go along for the ride. Scenes such as a dream scene with Frank feel out of place, the opening action sequence moves so slow you'd be forgiven for thinking that you were watching some behind the scenes footage that had accidentally found it's way into the final cut. It's without a doubt the movie's biggest failing; I found myself more interested in the bizarre breathing style the person beside me in the theatre had, potentially a cross between sleepiness and a blocked nose was my conclusion.
However when 'The Tourist' eventually gets itself out of neutral and into first gear it picks up (slightly), a very inventive action scene with Frank handcuffed to a speedboat & a rooftop escape in pyjamas were two standout scenes in a recovering second act.
Just when the chance at redemption arrives, the movie reaches a disappointingly inevitable conclusion; so bum-stingingly obvious it may has well have had Johnny Depp spell it out cheerleader style. From here on in the movie stutters over the line, leaving a movie that will be easily forgotten or glanced over when people in years to come look back at two of the titans of Hollywood. It left the audience with a bittersweet taste for a movie that almost dug itself out of the lull that almost sent people to slumber, but then only managed to roll over the finish line.
It's a really rocky ride, and one that everyone must agree is horribly disappointing. With a different team behind it, it would have been okay; with the dream team it actually had, its a failure.


Taken from: http://theadamharris.blogspot.com/
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